This Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List will teach you all you need to know about the party members in Final Fantasy 9 so you know who’s worth a spot on your team.
If you’re playing Final Fantasy 9, you’re going to want to know who the best characters are and what their best skills and abilities do so you can form the best party possible to take on major endgame challenges like Ozma and Hades. Final Fantasy 9 has 8 playable characters, each with their own individual strengths and weaknesses.
Your options for Final Fantasy 9 characters are: Zidane, the thief; Vivi, the black mage; Steiner, the knight; Garnet, the summoner; Quina, the blue mage; Freya, the dragoon; Eiko, the white mage; and Amarant, the monk. Out of all the available Final Fantasy 9 characters, Zidane and Steiner tend to be top tier while Vivi surprisingly lags behind. Read on to find out why.
Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
S Tier – Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
Steiner is pretty much a one-trick pony, but since his trick is to hit enemies really hard, far harder than any other character is capable at any point in the game from start to finish, it’s a pretty good trick. Almost all of his skills are completely useless except for Shock, but really all you need Steiner to do is use regular attacks for normal enemies and Shock on bosses once you get it.
Speaking of Shock, once Steiner gets Shock, he’ll be reliably hitting for 9999 on every monster in the game without exception. No need to pay attention to elemental weaknesses. No need to think. Just use shock repeatedly and things will die.
Steiner is fool proof. You should always have him on your team if he’s available. Easily one of the best Final Fantasy 9 characters.
A Tier – Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
Couldn’t steal anything. Couldn’t steal anything. Couldn’t steal anything. If you’re playing Final Fantasy 9, you’re going to be seeing that message a lot. Since Zidane is your main character and he’s a thief, the game is designed to have lots of important equipment to steal in almost every boss fight. In that sense, Zidane is indispensable.
As a fighter, Zidane is also very strong. His physical attacks are on par with other fighters, usually a little bit stronger, and thanks to him being required in your party throughout the game, his Thievery skill, which increases in power with every successful steal, becomes a reliable source of damage at the end of the game that, without any extra grinding, usually inflicts upwards 7000 damage on enemies.
The only real issue with Zidane is that because of the way the game is designed, he’s usually stealing instead of attacking, which limits his usefulness at a combatant. On the other hand, since all abilities are learned through equipment and a lot of that equipment is stolen, Zidane being relegated to stealing actually gives him extremely strong utility.
Zidane is definitely among the best Final Fantasy 9 characters.
B Tier – Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
There are two healers in the game and many would argue that Eiko is the better option, but I’m going to say Garnet is better. While Eiko does have the Haste spell and the ability to double-cast Holy when Tranced, Garnet’s summons scale off of how many gems you have in your inventory and at late game synthesis shops it’s exceptionally easy to get 99 of any gem you would ever want.
With Boost and 99 Garnets, Garnet’s Bahamut summon is going to quickly end almost every random encounter in the game while also fully healing your party if they’re equipped with Auto-Regen, which will tick about 5-10 times during lengthy summon animations. If you have Ark available, you can easily stock up on 99 Lapis Lazulis and have another powerful summon option.
Meanwhile, Eiko’s Haste spell loses its utility very quickly once Auto-Haste becomes available, leaving Eiko to rely on Holy, which is only single-target and Madeen, which is inferior to Garnet’s summons in terms of damage potential.
Eiko is capable of dealing more damage to bosses when Tranced with doublecasted Holy, but that situation is not really as useful as it seems. By the end of the game almost every character is capable of reliably dealing between 7000 and 9999 damage, and no boss can survive more than about 6 hits max.
When it comes to Final Fantasy 9 characters, Garnet and Eiko are fairly interchangeable, but in my opinion, Garnet is the slightly better option.
In early game, Freya is pretty strong. In late game, Freya is pretty strong if you farm enough dragons to make Dragon’s Crest deal 9999, which is not difficult. In mid-game, Freya lags behind.
When you first get Freya, thanks to her equipment options, she’ll be one of the heaviest hitters on your team. In addition to that, her Reis’s Wind ability, which grants Regen to every character will be very useful during a significant span of the game wherein you have no access to a real healer.
As the game progresses, her physical attack is outclassed by both Steiner and Amarant and Reis’s Wind loses its usefulness in competition with dedicated healing from Eiko/Garnet and the equipment ability Auto-Regen.
Since Reis also lacks any great heavy-hitting nuke skills like Steiner’s Shock and the skills she does have available during the midgame are all huge MP hogs, she’s not the greatest choice during that part of the game.
However, all her problems go away once you get Dragon’s Crest and kill 99 dragons, which you should easily be able to accomplish by the end of disc 3. If you’re able to do that, it’s hard to make any kind of argument that she doesn’t deserve a spot in your final party, since she can deal 9999 damage reliably for 16 MP.
If you don’t kill 99 dragons, she’s D Tier for sure. Whether or not Freya is one of the better Final Fantasy 9 characters or among the worst is entirely dependent on how many dragons you kill.
Quina has a decently powerful physical attack and a heavy hitting ability in Frog Drop, which will deal 9999 damage pretty reliably at a high level if you’ve caught over 100 frogs. That’s not what makes Quina B-Tier among the Final Fantasy 9 characters, though. The main thing that makes Quina B-Tier is his access to Bad Breath and Mighty Guard.
A weirdly large amount of bosses in Final Fantasy 9 are susceptible to status effects, unlike in most Final Fantasy games where bosses are immune to pretty much everything. Since almost every boss fight in the game is 99% stalling for time while Zidane steals and 1% actually taking their HP to zero, Quina’s ability to inflict tons of debilitating status effects on almost every boss is extremely useful.
For the same reason, Mighty Guard is a great ability for reducing the damage you take while stealing from the bosses who can’t be taken out of the fight with status effects.
Quina does get a wide variety of spells but they’re mostly underwhelming. White Wind, at its absolutely most powerful, will only every heal for 3333 HP, a fraction of what Curaga will heal. Twister, probably his best offensive magic, will pale in comparison to Garnet’s summons.
Aside from that, in late-game, Angel’s Snack, which uses a Remedy on each party member, is very useful during a few major boss fights where tons of status effects come into play.
If you’re going to use Quina, you’re really using him for 4 spells: Bad Breath, Frog Drop, Angel’s Snack and sometimes Mighty Guard. Outside of those uses, Quina is pretty mediocre among the Final Fantasy 9 characters.
C Tier – Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
Don’t get me wrong, Eiko is a perfectly fine healer. Final Fantasy 9 isn’t a particularly difficult game and the difference between Eiko and Garnet is not huge. Still, as I discussed above, I think Garnet is the better option when push comes to shove.
Still, Eiko has her selling points as well. She gets Haste. She gets Holy. She gets Full-Life. She gets Esuna. Her white mage skillset is a lot fuller and more powerful. She has a better trance. For the most part, Eiko and Garnet are completely interchangeable.
Still, because of how easy it is to power up Garnet’s summons, for the most part, Garnet deals more damage when she’s outside Trance and is useful for quickly ending random encounters. Holy deals more damage than Garnet’s summons overall on bosses, but the difference is not terribly significant outside of Trance.
Eiko’s stronger white magic often goes to waste since very little in Final Fantasy 9 outside of Ozma challenges you to use white magic beyond the occasional Curaga.
Haste is made obsolete by Auto-Haste. Esuna is not useful since Remedies are readily available in shops and any situation where you’re inflicted with lots of status effects is better handled by using Quina’s Angel’s Snack. That really leaves Eiko with Holy and Full-Life as her main advantages over Garnet.
I think in terms of Final Fantasy 9 characters it’s arguable which one is better, but the argument I’m making in this particular tier list is that Garnet is better since her summons are easy to power up to full power and they’re great for ending random encounters quickly.
The main problem with Amarant is that unlike almost every other character, he has no automatic 9999 damage skill. Amarant’s strongest skill is No Mercy and as a high level that tops out at around 7000 damage with Amarant’s best equipment.
Aside from that, he tends to outdamage all other physical attacks except Steiner with his normal attacks, which makes him pretty good for random encounters.
Amarant also has some decent utility in his skillset. His Revive skill gives him a better option than a phoenix down for resurrecting one of your downed characters. His Chakra skill comes in handy from time to time.
If No Mercy could hit 9999 damage reliably, Amarant would be better than Freya. But, unfortunately, it can’t. So, also unfortunately, when it comes to Final Fantasy 9 characters, Amarant is stuck in C-Tier.
D Tier – Best Final Fantasy 9 Characters Tier List
Despite being the cutest, coolest and most likable of all the Final Fantasy 9 characters, Vivi is unfortunately also probably the worst character when it comes to combat. He’s not unusable by any means. Black Magic does fairly good damage, after all.
The problem is that anything Vivi can do, other characters can do better. Vivi is good for two things: inflicting Slow on bosses, and dealing damage. At a high level, Vivi’s Flare is his best spell (aside from Doomsday, but that’s a whole different thing), and it’ll hit from 7000-8000 damage. Eiko and Garnet can both do comparable damage and they can heal.
Sure, Vivi can inflict slow on most bosses, but that pales in comparison to the plethora of status effects that Quina can inflict via Bad Breath. Eiko and Garnet also have a greater variety of status effects that they can inflict than Vivi.
Vivi’s damage all requires to him to spend MP, but almost every damage focused character can inflict 9999 damage (more than Vivi is capable of) using less MP and they can inflict good damage with normal physical attacks during random encounters.
In terms of Final Fantasy 9 characters, it’s really difficult to make an argument for why Vivi should be included in the party from a pure gameplay perspective. Of course, from a character design perspective, he’s S-Tier.